New DFG project under the direction of Prof. Dr. Stefan Wurster

The German Research Foundation (DFG) will fund the interdisciplinary research project „Mission Orientation and Innovation Clusters” led by Prof. Dr. Stefan Wurster (Professorship for Policy Analysis) and Prof. Dr. Hanna Hottenrott (Professorship for Economics of Innovation) for three years. 

Technological progress is a key driver for economic development of a country. In a world of globalized division of labor, successful research nations hold spatial and sectoral technology clusters to gain competitive advantages. Prominent examples like Silicon Valley, Silicon Wadi, or CERN (Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire) show that public engagement is likely to play a crucial role in initiating and perpetuating such clusters. The concept of the Entrepreneurial State stresses the role of public technology missions for the success of innovation clusters and technology leadership. The aim of the project is to provide a better understanding of the relationship between the establishment and perpetuation of innovation clusters and the mission orientation of a country. While in some cases and under certain conditions, national missions may lead to the formation of innovation clusters, such initiatives may also fail. The objective of this research project is therefore to identify the conditions under which national mission orientation, innovation clustering and technology leadership co-occur. Within this research focus, the project will shed light on the persistence of technology leadership profiles over time and how far they are traced back to national mission orientation. Moreover, it will investigate to what extent political institutions, actor constellations and policy programs shape mission formation and the link between mission orientation and countries’ technology clusters. While there is a long research tradition for mission orientation in innovation policy, the proposed aspects are still unconnected and international comparative studies are missing. This project will therefore investigate the mission-impact on innovation profiles and clusters at the national, subnational and firm-level. It will make use of advanced geocoded patent indicators as well as bibliometric analyses using public funding information on research articles to identify mission orientation and cluster performance on the national and regional level. Comprehensive data will be collected and combined to describe political institutions, actor constellations and policy programs. The country-level and regional-level analysis will comprise 47 countries and the time period from 1980 to 2020. The individual and firm-level analyses will focus on Germany. Using qualitative and quantitative research methods, this project will contribute novel insights to research on technology governance and innovation policy.